I am not one who typically discusses religion (or politics for that matter) on my blog, or elsewhere. It is not I am ashamed of my beliefs, it is just that I prefer to avoid contention, and religion and politics are probably the two topics that can rile up the most people. Having said that, my religion is a major part of who I am and there are lots of misconceptions out there as to what my religion teaches. I am planning, over the next several weeks or so, to address some of the various things that I have heard about my church and my beliefs. While I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I am not a spokesperson for the church. You can learn more about the church's official beliefs at their website, www.mormon.org.
The first thing I want to address is the idea that Mormons are not Christians. I will agree that Mormons are not Protestant Christians, but they are most definitely Christians. I was not raised a Mormon. I grew up attending various Protestant churches and spent my freshman year of high school at a Catholic all-girls school. I have studied many different religions and Christian religions tend to fall in one of three categories: Catholic, Protestant, Mormons. Here is my brief synopsis of how they differ: The Catholic church was first Christian church. Protestant churches in all their forms (Baptist, non-denominational, Presbyterian, Episcopal, etc) branched off the Catholic church, typically due to a difference in one or more tenets. Mormons believe that Christ came back and re-established his gospel on the earth. Not one of these groups are more Christian than another. What they have in common is that they ALL believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that he died for all of our sins. The definition of a Christian is one who believes in and follows Christ. This is why it really irks me when others, particularly other Christians, try to tell me that I am not, nor are any Mormons, Christian. I am okay with the fact that we have different fundamental beliefs and I understand that there are parts of my religion that you do not agree with, but to tell me that I do not believe or follow Christ is A) judgmental and B) just wrong.
So often, those who do not believe Mormons are Christian like to focus on how we are different, but I like to focus on our similarities. First, is our shared belief in Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection, as I stated in the previous paragraph. Second, we all believe the Bible to be the word of God. Mormons do also hold the Book of Mormon to be scripture, as another testament of Christ. We use the Book of Mormon in conjunction with the Bible, not instead of it. Third, we all believe in the divine nature of God the Eternal Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Fourth, we all believe that as followers of Christ, we are to love our neighbors and obey the commandments given to us. This means providing service to others, regardless of their beliefs and withholding judgement of those who believe differently than us. Members of the LDS church, as well as the "church" itself, have been the first to arrive in many disasters that have struck around the world, often arriving before the government and other service groups. I am not saying they are better than others, I am just sharing that they are definitely loving their neighbors and serving others, regardless of race, religion, etc.
I encourage you to explore the website, www.mormon.org to learn more about what Mormons believe. I also encourage you to ask any questions you may have and I will try to ensure that it gets answered, either through a blog post or directly. Also, if you are interested in receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon to read for yourself, please let me know, either by a comment or a private e-mail, and I will send one to you free-of-charge. It will arrive in the mail and I will keep your information confidential. Unless you request to speak with members or missionaries in your area, your information will not be given to anyone else. As for comments on this post, or any of the follow up posts, I am only going to publish comments that are respectful of others. This does not mean you cannot disagree with me, or other commenters, I just ask that you are not inflammatory. I appreciate your understanding on this.